Post-Brexit: Britain misses its own targets on trade deals – Politics

The UK has clearly missed the target it set itself for post-Brexit trade deals at the turn of the year. Less than two-thirds of the foreign trade volume has so far been covered by post-Brexit trade agreements, as a spokesman for the British Department of Commerce confirmed on request. Originally, the government in London had set a target for new trade contracts to account for 80 percent by the end of 2022. The possibility, as a sovereign state, to conclude its own trade agreements free of EU regulations was one of the central promises of Brexit.

According to the most recent official figures available, only 63 percent of foreign trade is covered by such contracts. Conservative politician James Duddridge, who was Secretary of State for Commerce under ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss, gave this number at the end of September in response to a question from the opposition. In response to a recent query, the Department of Commerce again referred to this response. The UK has trade deals with the EU and 71 countries, with which the UK traded £808 billion (about €926 billion) last year, Duddrige said.

“We have set ourselves high goals, but to achieve them we need a deal with the US, and it is clear that the Biden government does not give priority to trade deals with other countries,” a representative of British government circles told the German Press Agency . “We are ready to continue negotiations as soon as the US is.” In the meantime, work will be done to remove trade barriers for British companies in the US market and to conclude agreements with individual states. The UK Department of Commerce said it would next focus on deals with India, the Gulf States, Canada, Mexico, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

“Trade agreements are complicated in practice, and the rest of the world does not see trade with Great Britain as important as Brexit advocates think,” says Anglo-German economist Andrew Lee, who teaches at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University . “Not everyone is waiting in line patiently to sign a deal with Global Britain.” This applies above all to the USA, which is always regarded as the “grand prize”. Such negotiations with the government of US President Joe Biden are currently not very promising. On the one hand, this protects the domestic economy. In addition, the dispute between London and the EU over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland complicates the situation, Lee said.

In many cases, trade agreements with other countries have simply been copied from the EU days, the conditions are significantly worse than in the case of the EU trade pact, or simply the magnitude is not as important for the British economy – for example in the case of Australia or Japan.

British economy unhappy with Brexit deal

According to a survey, the trade pact with the EU is not bringing British companies the hoped-for benefits: In a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce, more than three quarters of the companies surveyed said that the Brexit deal was not helping them to increase their sales. More than half (56 percent) reportedly have problems with the new trading rules.

On the second anniversary of Brexit, the Scottish government has also renewed its criticism of the British exit from the EU. “The damage caused by Brexit continues to increase,” said Angus Robertson, who is responsible for foreign affairs in the cabinet, among other things. “In the two years since the end of the transition period, we have seen no benefit in leaving the European Union.” Rather, the British economy is “fundamentally on the wrong track” and there is “no real alternative”. The Scots had voted against the exit by a large majority.

Meanwhile, in his New Year’s speech, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak prepared the kingdom’s population for the ongoing problems in the new year. “Yes, 2023 will bring us challenges, but the government I lead puts your priorities first,” the prime minister said to citizens. Sunak blamed the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine for the severe economic crisis with high inflation and recession. The whole world is affected by this, Great Britain is no exception. However, experts also see the consequences of Brexit and fundamentally wrong economic decisions by the ruling Conservative Party as a decisive factor.

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